The Girl Who Was Saturday Night – Heather O’Neill

Wonderful storytelling of the remarkable relationship between two siblings, Nouschka and Nicolas, who have grown up without parental love: a physically absent mother and an emotionally absent father. O’Neill captures the francophone world on Montreal in 1995, leading up to the separation vote. The sibling relationship is amazingly close but they are moving in different directions: Nouschka is going forward and Nicolas is stuck in the present/past. Wonderful writing, especially the metaphors!

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Flora – Gail Godwin

A 10-year-old (Helen) and a 22-year-old (Flora, a cousin of Helen’s dead mother), spend part of the summer of 1945 together. Helen’s father is working at Oak Ridge on bomb development so Flora is a companion/chaperone. Helen is a precocious, petulant, self-absorbed and incredibly manipulative kid, so interesting character and the ending to the book is a surprise.

Nocturne by Helen Humphreys

Nocturne by Helen Humphreys.jpg(thanks to Amy/Steph). Really excellent writing; book was read in one setting so clearly I was engaged by the story. The book describes the experience of the author’s life together with her brother, and details after his death. Perhaps I was primed by the [Miriam] Toews AMPS [All My Puny Sorrows] but I have a personal preference for introspective and insightful writing. Humphreys captures the cruelty of disease and the numbness of grief. She writes: fear the worst because the worst has happened” (first Matthew and then Anne).